College students and their families will spend more on consumer electronics this summer than any other product category.
According to the annual Back-To-School/College Spending Survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF), households will shell out an average of $229 on dorm-bound laptops, TVs and gaming consoles this season.
While flat to last year’s spend, it remains the largest average outlay for any back-to-campus product category, followed by apartment/dorm furnishings ($109) and even food ($102).
The story’s somewhat different for the back-to-school crowd, where CE takes a back seat to apparel. Households plan to spend $236 on average for kids’ clothing, the survey showed, while expected expenditures for tech fare like computers, calculators and phones is down 8 percent from last year, to $187 per family.
“The biggest change we are seeing in back-to-school spending this year is coming from electronics,” said NRF research VP Mark Mathews. “Items like laptops, tablets and smartphones are now an everyday part of household life and aren’t necessarily a purchase parents save for the start of the school year, resulting in the slight decrease in spending for this category.”
Nevertheless, retailers had better be prepared for a bountiful season: Households plan to spend a total of $1,627 on all back-to-class goods, compared to the $967 that was spent on average for Holiday 2017.
So far, 89 percent of respondents still have half or more of their purchases left to complete, with most putting off shopping until at least three weeks before class begins to wait out the season’s best deals.
Websites and department stores are the most popular back-to-class shopping channels, the poll showed, followed by discount stores, clothing shops, office supply chains and college bookstores.
The survey was conducted among 7,320 consumers June 29 to July 8 by Prosper Insights & Analytics.